Chris Kennedy recognized Hannah Gacke’s thoughtfulness before the two even met.
They were the only two people with dogs going on a group trip to South Padre in July 2020, and Hannah had called Chris to see if their pups should meet each other beforehand.
“I thought it was a very kind and thoughtful offer, so I was already excited,” Chris said.
On the trip, the dogs got along well, but it was nothing compared to the chemistry between their owners.
At one point Chris asked Hannah to go bird watching. They didn’t see a single bird, but the two spent hours on the beach talking and, later, their first kiss.
“And there were fireworks,” Hannah said.
Chris and Hannah fell fast and deeply into a serious relationship. Within a year, they were planning a wedding.
From the start it was no secret that they liked each other. They never ran out of things to talk about, and consistently worked to match wits. Chris joked that he probably missed hours of work trying to compose the perfect response to Hannah’s texts, and the effort paid off.
“The questions you asked weren’t like, ‘What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend,’” Hannah said. “It’s always these fun, hypothetical questions that really prove to me that you’ve never lost your sense of wonder about the world.”
When the two took a trip to New Mexico a few months into their dating relationship, they never turned on the radio once in the 12+ hour drive. There was just never a lull in the conversation.
So it wasn’t a surprise to Hannah when she began to realize she saw a life with Chris. One night, as they sat in their backyard, she described how she visualized him as a dad, raising their children. It’s a thought Chris had as well.
“Even before we kissed … we were at the beach – I remember some of our friends talking about having a family,” Chris said. “I remember Hannah saying, ‘I don’t know, maybe it’ll happen if I find the right guy.’ I just remember thinking in my head, ‘I’ll make sure she does.’”
By February 2021, about seven months after that night on the beach, the two were looking at engagement rings.
Hannah knew she wanted to wait for an engagement until the couple had spent closer to a full year together, and with Chris’s sister’s wedding coming up in June, she figured the question wouldn’t come before then.
But in early June, Chris planned a weekend getaway at an Airbnb about 30 minutes outside of their home in Austin.
“When he surprised me with the trip, I was like, oh my god it’s going to happen,” Hannah said.
Sure enough, the two were taking a walk by the river on June 5, 2021 when Chris proposed. Hannah, of course, said yes.
It was an intimate moment, just the two of them, until two dogs – named Thomas Jefferson and George Washington – from the neighboring Airbnb ran down to greet them. Their owner, embarrassed, called down and apologized. When he realized what had just happened, though, he helped Hannah and Chris capture some photos of their engagement.
The next day, Chris surprised Hannah with a party at their home with friends, yard games and tacos from a favorite restaurant.
That commitment to going big – whether in planning an engagement party or dreaming up future career opportunities – is part of what Hannah loves about Chris.
“Everything we do, there’s 100 percent effort into it, and I love that,” Hannah said.
The two plan to marry at the Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas on Sept. 10, 2022, which coincides with the Harvest Moon. The Neil Young song, “Harvest Moon,” was playing when the couple danced together in New Mexico.
“We didn’t even consider another day,” Hannah said.
When she thinks about the future beyond the wedding day, Hannah looks forward to many more years experiencing Chris’s sense of wonder, energy and relentless support. And those feelings are reciprocated.
“We’re both really ‘go, go, go,’ which is nice,” Chris said. “I’ve never met someone romantically or otherwise that has the same energy level and is always looking to go out and do stuff as Hannah.”
The couple also has many shared dreams, and as they’ve grown together, they’ve become intense advocates for one another’s goals.
“It’s not like we’re two individuals working side-by-side,” Hannah said. “We’re definitely intertwined.”
That’s true of their day-to-day routines, too. Hannah will make Chris’s coffee in the morning while he makes her chai. They go to bed at the same time, and they share each other’s dreams both big and small.
Before meeting Hannah, Chris said he used to have insomnia. Now, he wakes up in a good mood every morning because she’s there next to him.
“It feels like so much of life has been focusing on the next thing,” Chris said.
He went from school to college to finding a job to dating, etc.
“I’ve found my other half, and now I can just focus on being happy,” he said. “There doesn’t have to be a next thing.”